Why Dance with Us?

Goulburn Valley Academy of Ballet has qualified and experienced teachers who want to ensure students learn dance in a manner which is safe, age appropriate and joyful. Our school is inclusive and welcoming, with classes for all levels and ages,  3 years old to adult.

We pride ourselves on being a Child Safe Dance School and seek to include and empower young people, so that they can feel safe and welcome at our school.

We encourage new students and families to try out our classes with no commitment to uniforms for beginners and offer a THREE WEEK TRIAL PERIOD.


The Goulburn Valley Academy of Ballet’s origins can be traced back to 1960 when Miss Phyl Lawrence began teaching pupils in the Cecchetti method in Shepparton. Miss Lawrence had learnt from Lucie Saranova a pupil of Enrico Cecchetti himself, who developed the method. Miss Lawrence’s pupil Rhonda Cooper then established her own dance school which eventually became the Goulburn Valley Academy of Ballet. The school passed through two further principals Miss Glenda and Miss Lorraine before current principal Melanie Coats took charge in 1988.

Melanie began dancing at 5 years of age in England before moving back to Australia, where Miss Melanie learnt to dance at the Heidelberg and District Ballet School under Lorraine Blackbourne.  Miss Melanie performed with a senior selective dance group called ‘The Ensemble’ and gained her teaching qualifications in Melbourne. Miss Melanie moved to Shepparton and began teaching classes for Miss Lorraine at the Goulburn Valley Academy of Ballet. When Miss Lorraine decided to move to Melbourne, Miss Melanie seized the opportunity to devote herself to her passion and decided to purchase and run the school.

Miss Melanie has seen the school evolve and grow and has helped thousands of young pupils improve as dancers and blossom as confident young people.


Melanie Coats, L.C.B.A. – C.I.C.B.

Ballet and Jazz

Tunya Jarvis, L.C.B.A. – C.I.C.B.


Tess Coates

Contemporary, Ballet and Jazz

Connie Austen

Jazz and Ballet

Makayla Thorne


Dance Styles/Classes